Problem-Solving Courts

What Are Problem-Solving Courts?

Problem-solving courts began in the 1990's to accommodate offenders with specific needs and problems that were not, or could not, be adequately addressed in traditional courts and the traditional criminal justice system. Problem-solving courts seek to promote change that will benefit not only the offender, but the victim and society as well. Problem-solving courts were developed as an innovative response to deal with offenders' problems, including but not limited to, drug abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence. Results from studies show that these types of courts are having a positive impact on the lives of offenders and victims and in some instances are saving jail and prison costs.

In Problem-solving courts:

Judges take a more hands-on approach to addressing problems and changing behaviors of defendants.

Collaboration occurs among many disciplines to ensure a balanced Treatment Team and approach to case management.

Personnel in these courts take on roles or processes not common in traditional courts. For example, problem-solving courts are less adversarial than traditional criminal justice processing.

Use of screening and assessment tools to identify appropriate individuals for the court is common as is early identification of potential candidates. Determination of a defendant's eligibility for a problem-solving court usually occurs early in a defendant's involvement with criminal justice processing.

Learn more about Drug Courts

Learn more about Veterans' Courts